EDITORIAL: Campaign ad perpetuates irrationality
Fear-mongering is unsettling tactic
Since his 2016 presidential campaign, President Donald J. Trump and his constituents have seemingly used fear as an effective tool to persuade voters. Anti-immigration rhetoric, and arguably propaganda, have been used to fabricate an irrational fear of a non-existent danger. The bolstering of the perceived danger of immigrants and foreigners has been preyed upon most recently in an advertisement put out late last week by the Trump campaign, which attempted to conflate a convicted murderer, the “caravan” of Central American migrants walking toward the United States and the Democratic Party.
The advertisement was released seemingly with the aim of striking fear into the hearts of the electorate. It included courtroom video of Luis Bracamontes, an undocumented immigrant who was convicted in 2014 of murdering two sheriff’s deputies in California. The footage, superimposed by “DEMOCRATS LET HIM INTO OUR COUNTRY," features sound bites of Bracamontes bragging about his killings and threatening to commit more. As the video continues, footage of the “caravan” of migrants appears with the question, “WHO ELSE WOULD THE DEMOCRATS LET IN?”
At a rally in June of 2015, Trump stated regarding Central American immigrants, “They're sending people that have a lot of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.” The idea the ad was seemingly trying to get across was that the caravan of migrants, and presumably other potential immigrants as well, is dangerous and will bring harm to the United States. And there is no doubt that ads like this strike a chord with many potential Republican voters, as a poll by the Pew Research Center showed that 75 percent of Republican voters see illegal immigration as the country’s biggest issue.
Considering this ad’s clear racism and lack of logic, it has been struck from most platforms and news sources that originally aired it. For example, NBC and Fox News both announced on Monday that they will no longer show the ad, conceding that it was racist. Facebook has subsequently done the same, stating that it violates its advertisement policy. Of course, this happened after millions of people saw it while watching Sunday Night Football alone.
Everyone can agree that a seemingly sociopathic murderer, such as Luis Bracamontes, should be put behind bars, as they are a clear danger to society. But, to generalize the dangerous and unstable character of Bracamontes to the whole of Central American immigrants is blatantly wrong — anyone with the capacity for reason can understand that he is not an accurate representation of undocumented or potential immigrants.
All that ads like this do is perpetuate an unnecessary fear of foreigners — particularly foreigners of color — so that such fear can be used to conjure red votes. And, if the “blue wave” comes to fruition, Trump’s supporters that agree with the idea behind this ad will probably only be more motivated for action against immigration, possibly making life in the United States more dangerous for undocumented people. Moving into the future, reasonable Americans should keep this ad in mind and continue to denounce the hateful and racist ideology behind it.
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